Witch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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Witch
First appearance "Witch"
Creator Joss Whedon
For the Season 1 episode, see Witch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode).

A Witch in the Buffyverse was a person who was learned in witchcraft. A witch could be either female or male, as they connected with the elements and forces of nature in order to practice sorcery.

Description[edit]

Humans who practiced magical powers were called "witches." The origin of witchcraft remains unknown; however, it is believed that witches have existed since the beginning of humanity, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations of family lines. Contrary to popular belief, not all witches received their magic from demons, nor did they worship the devil. Some witches, such as Wiccans, received their power from nature and practiced their witchcraft however they saw fit.

Magic[edit]

Magic was the power to affect change by supernatural means. Magic could often be split into black and white, though depending on the situation, may also be neutral. All creatures (both human and non-human) were connected to this power and were able to access it through practice and training. However, whilst everyone had the ability to cast spells and perform other feats of magic, witches generally had more knowledge and understanding of the mystical energies and supernatural forces that charged the entire universe.

Uses[edit]

Magic was capable of being used as a powerful force of negativity and/or positivity. While some witches, such Tara and Willow, used magic to support Buffy Summers in her fight against evil, other witches, such as Amy Madison, have been known to use their power for dark and selfish desires. Magic is considered one of the most powerful forces of the entire universe. This power allowed all who used it to perform extraordinary, reality-altering feats which ranged from modifying one or more aspects of reality to reshaping the nature of an entire world.

Metaphors[edit]

In the Buffy series, magic is often used as a metaphor for other things. For example, during season four magic is used as a metaphor for the lesbian relationship between Willow and Tara that is only hinted at (if rather overtly)[1] until the episode "New Moon Rising" when the relationship is revealed. Also, briefly in season five and heavily in season six, when Willow becomes addicted to magic, magic is used as a metaphor for drug addiction, with Willow going through all the typical destructive behaviors and withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict.

Identification[edit]

In the season one episode "Witch" a method is demonstrated that, by performing, a witch can be identified by using various ingredients; some of their hair, a little quicksilver (mercury), some aqua fortis (nitric acid), and "eye of newt". The ingredients are heated then applied to the possible-witch. If a spell has been cast in the previous 48 hours, the witch's skin turns blue where the substance comes in contact with it. This was used to discover that "Amy" (actually Catherine) was a witch.[2]

Technopagan[edit]

The real-life belief of Technopaganism is also present in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although they are not mentioned beyond season two and with Jenny Calendar as the only one seen on-screen. She is seen as a low-level practitioner of magic and does not consider herself a witch.[3] Even so, technopagans of the Buffyverse are not portrayed that differently from witches, they are just more familiar with modern technology and its relation to the black arts. Although not specifically addressed, the implication is that there is a difference in power levels between a technopagan and a witch, as Jenny states in the season one episode "I, Robot... You, Jane" in which Giles asks if she is a witch. Jenny's answer, "I don't have that kind of power" indicates that witches are able to perform greater feats of magic than other, more casual practitioners of magic.


Trivia[edit]

  • While every being (from demon to human) was capable of using magic, there were also natural-born witches who developed their power from genetics. While these witches were generally very powerful, ordinary people without the genetic boost, such as Willow, have proven that they can be surpassed.
  • While Willow has been known to use modern technology and contacts to further her witchcraft (e.g. the Internet), she often identified herself as a witch rather than a technopagan.

See also[edit]

Magic users in the Buffyverse[edit]

For a more complete list see here

Key witchcraft-related Buffyverse episodes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eden, Martin, "Alyson Wonderland", from Buffy the Vampire Slayer magazine #15 (UK, December 2000), page 8-14.
  2. ^ "Witch"
  3. ^ I, Robot... You, Jane